Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool unlikely to sign centre-back in January transfer window

Carl Markham, PA
·4-min read

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has all-but ruled out signing a centre-back to ease what has been a problem position for him this season.

With Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez set to miss most, and likely, all the season and Joel Matip picking up knocks every few weeks, Klopp has been forced to play Fabinho in defence alongside teenager Rhys Williams, the relatively inexperienced Nat Phillips or even Jordan Henderson.

But dipping into the January transfer market does not appear to be an option as it is not financially viable.

“I cannot say definitely we will not bring one in but it is just not likely because of the situation in the world,” said Klopp.

“We should not forget the situation is a tough one for all people and for football clubs as well.

“There might be some clubs with absolutely no financial problems but this club was, and always will be with these owners, just very responsible with the things we do.

“If the world would be in a normal place, everything would be fine: we won the league, won the Champions League, the club is in the best possible situation and then you have three senior centre-halves injured, is that a situation when you would usually do something?

“Yes definitely but we are not in that situation. I don’t know if something will happen or not.

“You maybe could do something but it would be a short-term solution and we don’t have that short-term solution and that is not right because it doesn’t help.

Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez pictured warming up in training
Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are two of Liverpool’s long-term absentees (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We have to deal with the situation as we have so far and get through it.

“It is not the best moment for the whole planet so why should it be for a football club?”

After almost two seasons of serene progress Liverpool have hit something of a bump in the road with their last three performances being well below the levels expected of them.

No win in their last three matches, with only one goal, and just two victories in their last six in all competitions points to a dip in form which needs to be corrected.

Individual players are also struggling with the focus after Monday’s defeat at Southampton turned on Trent Alexander-Arnold after the full-back gave away the ball 38 times, the highest number in the Premier League this season.

“That’s normal. We play football in public, and people are used to the level Trent showed over the last three or four years, since he started playing with us, pretty much,” said Klopp of the criticism.

“The game he played (at Southampton) was obviously not his best. He knows that, we know that, it’s clear.

“There are explanations for this season if you want, but he had good games as well. He helped us a lot, absolutely.

“But the reason is, he started late, was out for a while with early Covid and had an injury as well, so he had no pre-season.

“With the quality he has, and the situation we were in, he played pretty early. He’s now getting here, I think physically he is fine and now he has to hit top shape again, and that will happen sooner rather than later.”

What would improve Liverpool’s fortunes would be a quick return for forward Diogo Jota, who had just hit form before a knee injury early in December ruled him out for up to two months.

Klopp, who is also still missing midfielder Naby Keita with a muscle problem, admits there will be no faster-than-expected recovery though.

“It will still take time, he is still wearing a brace so that means he is still a few weeks from team training,” he said.

“It takes time. No surgery needed, which was good, but it was a proper injury, not a little knock. No real time-frame there.”